Friday, February 29, 2008

Daylight savings time on March 9

I know that's still approximately a week away, but it's hard to believe it's already time to 'spring forward' an hour. I love it, but I know others who hate it.

In 2008, daylight time begins on March 9 and ends on November 2.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 expanded the number of weeks that Daylight Savings Time is in effect so it is rolling around earlier and lasting longer.

And who can forget this wonderful letter warning about the possibility of another "plot by a liberal Congress to make us believe global warming is real"?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Friends + Beach + Oysters = Excellent

Had a blast with friends last weekend at the beach. We roasted a bushel and a half of fresh oysters and also slurped down almost 5 quarts of homemade clam chowder. Walked on the beach. Hunted for sharks teeth. Sat outside and visited. Some threw the baseball around. Some chased a sweet and rambunctious 3 year old. And as a bonus, we had some tunes played for us by Jeff Hart who, incidentally, blogs about it (with pics) on his blog here.

Do you remember your first oyster lesson?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oh, the horror of coming up with a Science Fair entry.

Did you agonize over what to submit for the Science Fair at your Junior High School?

If so, you might really enjoy:

41 Hilarious Science Fair Experiments

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tonight's Lunar Eclipse as seen from Durham NC

There were light clouds, and I had to use a plantstand and a vegetarian cookbook as a makeshift tripod, but I was able to snap this picture around 9:25 pm from my front yard:

I don't have a great camera, so it's not a great picture, but I'm considering upgrading soon.

Many thanks to my brother who called me and said that everything wasn't socked in with clouds and he was right. For a few minutes, the moon peeked through pretty well.

Looking west, Durham tonight after sunset

(Click the picture once and then again to make it larger.)

The big concrete hole, left foreground, will eventually be the new transportation center. You can get a sense of the size of the excavation by looking at the earth-moving equipment just to the right of the hole.
The silver Amtrak train is pulling into town.
A small portion of the new phase of the Liggett project is visible in the right foreground.

Below, under the SouthBank building, looking east. To get a sense of scale, that's one of those pebble-concrete heavy outdoor trashcans in the center, just inside one of the columns.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wed. night: Full lunar ecplise on a full moon

If the clouds stay away, the lunar eclipse Wednesday night should be a treat. One of my fondest childhood memories is standing with my dad in the backyard while we waited for the shadow to overtake the moon--his voice still conveying wonder that we'd sent men there who'd walked around. When he was a boy, he'd whisper in the darkness to me, such a feat was unbelievable.

In this article explaining the 5 stages of a lunar eclipse, Sky and Telescope says, "All of the Americas will have ringside seats . . . weather permitting."

Viewing Details per National Geographic News:

Wednesday's eclipse officially gets underway at 8:43 p.m. ET, when the moon's eastern edge slips into Earth's shadow.

The 50-minute totality begins at 10:01 p.m. The eclipse ends at 12:09 am Thursday.

Up to three total lunar eclipses occur a year, but some years have none. The next one won't occur until December 21, 2010.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Powerful beautiful film "Persepolis" at The Carolina Theatre

The film is about an Iranian girl, Marjane, growing up at the time of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. It shows, through luscious black and white animation, how Iran dramatically changed when the powerful combination of religious fundamentalism and nationalism oppressed and deprived families such as Marjane's. You see her family's hopes for her to someday be an educated, independent woman dashed as the fundies demand women be hidden by scarves and adhere to religious laws.

Marjane's rebelliousness and tendency to push back against authority as a teen eventually lead her parents to send her to Vienna, but she doesn't quite fit in there either. She can't get out of her mind what her family is going through back home Iran.

I couldn't get out of my mind the nasty influence of rah-rah nationalism combined with religious fundamentalism and what it can do to a civilized country in such a relatively short time.

It's utterly absorbing. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and Jury Prize at 2007 Cannes, along with a host of other film awards. Here's the official site.

The film is based on the autobiographical novel by Marjane Satrapi. I intend to get a copy of this so I can compare it to what I saw on the screen.

Catherine Deneuve voices Marjane's mother in the film.

Go see it on the big screen while it's in town if you can. Highly recommended.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Spring arriving in Durham Bull Pen's yard

A few colors today to share.

Crocuses popping up:

Heart shape inside the crocuses:

Yellow crocuses:


My favorite camellia:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Let's just shoot 'er down.

Remember that "top secret" U.S. satellite falling to the Earth that I blogged about? No? Here ya go.

Hey, turns out the military is just going to fire missiles and shoot it down.

"Plan is to fire missiles from U.S. Navy cruiser before it hits Earth" per this breaking MSNBC story.

That doesn't sound like standard operating procedure to me.

What, me worry?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I have milk and a loaf of bread!

And it's snowing at my house right now.

Snow: The Movie (28 seconds of snowing at midnight at the Durham Bull Pen house, possibly--no probably--very boring). Ignore the small red light. A flying saucer perhaps.

Fun pasta cheers me some days.

Is that weird or what?

World Market
carries interesting pasta. This farfalle is "100% Italian" the box says and isn't loaded with junk as far as ingredients. No artificial colors, no artificial ingredients, no food coloring.

Good enough for an easy Wednesday night meal in the Durham Bull Pen household.

I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Harry & Sons" in Atlanta

A favorite place to dine in Atlanta is Harry & Sons in the Virginia Highland part of Atlanta. We made sure to schedule in dinner while there. If you find yourself in Atlanta anytime soon, I'll show you why you might enjoy a meal there too!

As we have in the past, we ordered a pot of hot tea, and a couple of appetizers to start.

The tea was tasty, a touch of jasmine and a hint of lemon:

The Surin Baskets, filled with roasted corn, onions, chicken, and cilantro and served with a light sweet sauce (honey-peanut cucumber I think), were delicious:

The basil rolls I like because they can pull off being crunchy and at the same time soft. They burst with the flavor and smell of sweet basil, and I love basil--plus steamed shrimp and bean sprouts are throughout as well. The stickiness of the rice helps hold them together inside and the outer part of the roll is chewy and light. They are served with a spicy sauce that reminds me of a spicy hoisin sauce:

My dining partner ordered the Panang Chicken curry and said it was delicious. She's not very adventurous with food, but loves different curries. The presentation on this dish was certainly nice. The sauce wasn't too thin, but nice and thick and spicy. The chicken was generous in the entree as well:

I splurged and got the Sushi and Sashimi platter because it seemed to have a little of everything. It was fantastic. Everything was fresh as could be of course, and so beautifully presented that I couldn't decide where to start, but I managed. Their wasabi seemed extra potent and was quite eye-opening a few times. This entree alone is worth going back for when we find ourselves in Atlanta again:

It was a whirlwind trip, but we managed a nice meal and a trip to the High Museum to see a couple of current exhibits, so all in all a great weekend.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Moonset and Earthshine over Atlanta tonight . . .

In Atlanta for a few days and snapped these pictures from my hotel as the thumbnail crescent Moon was setting . . .

Beautiful "Earthshine" -- a phenomena that Leonardo Da Vinci solved, sometimes called "the Da Vinci Glow."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Have a "semi-homemade" laugh today

Don't miss Food Network's Sandra Lee create a freaking disaster called a "Kwanzaa Cake," and then the internet hilarity begins:

And don't miss the youtube.comments:

Several things wrong with this recipe:


First off, it cannot be that difficult to buy chocolate frosting. Second, apple pie filling from a can = NO. Third, CornNuts should never, ever, EVER, be used for decoration. Fourth, Kwanzaa was not created for THIS. I could go on and on. Why hasn't the NAACP issued a public condemnation?
she f*cked that cake up good

and my favorite

sandra lee's kwanzaa cake is FIERCE. y'all bitches just wish you were fabulous enough to jam table candles into a cake and put corn nuts on it.

Just in case you'd another review or two, see here and here.

Happy Friday!

A few cool things of note coming up

(aka getcher butt off the couch):

Star-gazing with Eno River Association

Fri., February 8, 2008
Starry, Starry Night
8-10pm - Lake Michie Boathouse. Join us for a program about the winter constellations. The winter skies are great for viewing the stars and we will utilize the open views up at Lake Michie. For more information on any program or to pre-register, please contact Chris Shepard or Jessica Finelt at 919-620-8154 or email christopher.shepard at durhamnc dot gov.

or this sounds intriguing too:

Sat, February 9, 2008
Pump Station Ruins Tour
10:30 am - Walk through history with a park ranger. Explore the ruins of Durham's original public drinking water station. Call 919-383-1686 to register. Limit 15.

More about Eno River Association.

Winter Bird Walk

Dan Kaplan is leading an ECWA (Ellerbee Creek Watershed Association) winter bird walk on Saturday, February 16th at 8:00 AM. We’ll start off at the parking lot of Indian Trail Park (located at the corner of Indian Trail and Albany Street) and make our way to ECWA’s 17-Acre Wood preserve. Dan’s walk in October was great fun — I hope you can join us on the 16th!

To RSVP, please send email to leslie.mcclellan at yahoo dot com.

More about Ellerbee Creek and ECWA here.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

As seen in Durham this afternoon

this bumpersticker gave me much needed chuckle today:

It is frustrating these days if you have an attention span longer than say, 20 seconds, and would like to find actual news on television.

And they say it's just a game . . .

Maybe so. What will be on everyone's mind tonight:

I understand Dick Vitale will be back tonight, commenting on the game on television. Oh joy.

Monday, February 4, 2008

James Carville and Mary Matalin's home.

Ever wonder where Carville and Matalin live? Yeah, me neither.

However, Architectural Digest did a story on it last month here. One question, what's with all the pink? Doesn't red and blue make purple after all?

One room has red coral on the wall. I found some red coral recently and blogged about it. I did not hang it on my wall. Nor do I have a monkey tchotchke holder, alas.

AD actually states, and apparently not even ironically, "Opposing Views Unite in a Bold Design Vision Near the Capital."

Seriously now, here's their "exuberant living room" designed with "entertaining in mind." I guess it does its entertaining all by itself?

If you like to see the six photos AD put up on the web, click here.

And, for bonus points, can anyone explain the painting behind the Carville-Matalin family shown in this photo. Wow.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's classified a "secret" but . . . FORE!

Don't worry boys and girls--it could very well hit the United States, and it could contain hazardous materials . . . but FEMA's involved, so I'm sure there are plans in place to deal with the contingencies.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and propulsion and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said Saturday.

The satellite, which no longer be controlled (sic) [hahaha --ed.], could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret.

link to AP story from 1/26

and an update

Renuart added that, "As it looks like it might re-enter into the North American area," then the U.S. military along with the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will either have to deal with the impact or assist Canadian or Mexican authorities.

link to updated AP story
No doubt Canada and Mexico are as cheered as I am to hear that Homeland Security and FEMA will be 'dealing' and 'assisting.'

Friday, February 1, 2008

V-J Day at Penny's Bend?

Hiking through the woods at Penny's Bend Trail recently, a couple of trees near the river caught my eye. To me they looked very much like a famous photo (Alfred Eisenstaedt's 1945 LIFE photograph) so I stopped and snapped a picture of the trees, to compare to what I was seeing in my mind's eye.

"If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera." ~Lewis Hine